Leigh F. Callahan, PhD

Leigh F. Callahan, PhD

Associate Director, UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center
Mary Link Briggs Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Professor, Departments of Social Medicine and Orthopaedics
Adjunct Professor Department of Epidemiology

3300 Thurston Bldg
Campus Box 7280
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7280
919-966-0564


Specialties:  arthritis and outcomes research, physical activity interventions, health disparities

Chronology:  BS, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; 1979; PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1992; Research Assistant, Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1979-1981; Research Assistant, Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1981-1982; Research Associate, Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1983-1993; Epidemiologist, Aging Studies Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, 1983-1995; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UNC-CH, 1995-1999; Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UNC-CH, 1999-present; Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine, Social Medicine, UNC-CH; 1999-2011; Research Fellow; Center of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, UNC-CH, 2010-present; Professor, Departments of Medicine, Social Medicine, UNC-CH, 2011-present; Associate Director, UNC’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center, 2013- present; Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UNC-CH, 2013- present; Associate Director for Epidemiologic and Outcomes Research, Thurston Arthritis Research Center; 2014; Director, Osteoarthritis Action Alliance. 2014-present; Director of Community and Outcomes Research, Thurston Arthritis Research Center

Description of research and/or clinical interests:  Dr. Callahan’s research  has focused on predictors of outcomes and quality of life in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), patient reported outcomes and measurement, physical activity and arthritis, social determinants and health outcomes, health literacy, and complementary and alternative medicine use in rheumatic diseases. 

Selected Bibliography:

  1. Callahan LF, Cleveland RJ, Shreffler J, Hootman JM, Mielenz TJ, Schoster B., Brady T, Schwartz T. Evaluation of active living every day in adults with arthritis. J Phys Act Health 2014 Feb; 11(2) 285-95 DOI: 10.1123/jpah.2011-0307. Epub 2013 Jan 28. PMID: 23359072.
  2. Callahan LF, Cleveland RJ, Shreffler J, Schwartz TA, Schoster B, Randolph R, Renner JB, Jordan, JM.   Associations of educational attainment, occupation and community poverty with knee osteoarthritis in the Johnston County (North Carolina) osteoarthritis project. Arthritis Res Ther, 2011, 13: R169  doi:10.1186/ar3492. PMID: 22011570
  3. Callahan LF, Shreffler JH, Altpeter M, Schoster B, Hootman J, Houenou LO, Martin KR, Schwartz TA. Evaluation of   group and self-directed formats of the arthritis foundation’s (AF) walk with ease (WWE) program. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken), 2011 Aug;63(8):1098-107. doi: 10.1002/acr.20490, PMID:22011570
  4. Callahan LF, Martin KR, Shreffler J, Kumar D, Schoster B, Kaufman J, Schwartz T, Independent and combined influence of homeownership, occupation, education, income and community poverty on physical health in persons with arthritis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2011, May; 63:643-653. PMCID: PMC3091982
  5. Callahan LF, Shreffler J, Siaton BC, Helmick CG, Schoster B, Schwartz TA, Chen JC, Renner JB, Jordan JM. Limited educational attainment and radiographic an symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a cross-sectional analysis using data from the Johnston County (North Carolina) Osteoarthritis Project, Arthritis Research & Ther. 2010; 12(2) R:46. Published online 2010, March 18. doi: 10. 1186/ar2956.  PMCID: PMC2888194
  6. Callahan LF, Wiley-Exley E, Mielenz T, Brady T, Xiao C, Currey S, Sleath B, Sloane P, DeVellis R, Sniezek J.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine among patients with arthritis.  Preventing Chronic Disease 2009;6(2). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/ apr/08_0070.htm. PMCID: PMC2687850.
  7. Callahan LF, Shreffler J, Mielenz T, Kaufman J, Schoster B, Randolph R, Sloane P, DeVellis R, Weinberger M. Health-related quality of life in adults from 17 family practice clinics in North Carolina: Associations with education and community poverty level.  Preventing Chronic Disease, 2009; 6(1) http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/jan/07_0215.htm. PMCID: PMC 2644582.
  8. Callahan LF, Mielenz T, Freburger J, Shreffler J, Hootman J, Brady T, Buysse K, Schwartz T.  A randomized controlled trial of the people with arthritis can exercise program: symptoms, function, physical activity and psychosocial outcomes.  Arthritis Care Res, 2008, 59:92-101. PMID: 18163409.
  9. Callahan LF, Schoster B, Hootman J, Brady T, Sally L, Donahue K, Mielenz T, Buysse K.  Modifications to the Active Living Every Day (ALED) course for adults with arthritis. Prev Chronic Dis. 2007 Jul;4(3):A58. Epub 2007 Jun 15. PMCID:  PMC195547
  10. Callahan LF, Pincus T, Huston JW, Brooks RH, Nance EP, Kaye JJ. Measures of activity and damage in rheumatoid arthritis: depiction of changes and prediction of mortality over five years.  Arthritis Care and Res. 1997;10,6:381-394. PMID: 9481230.